Friday, January 9, 2009

Help me not make the Bad Pitch Blog :)

Our big State Games is coming up next weekend and now's the time for me to pitch a few human interest stories to a few reporters in the metro-Atlanta area. Below are the type of pitches I send out. Note: The blanks are where names and locations would be.

There's a well-known blog called the Bad Pitch Blog dedicated to crappy pitches. I
don't want to make a headline there. So, how would you improve these pitches?

Pitch 1: Dear _____,

I thought you might be interested in a story about a local man who will attempt to break a world record next weekend.

Elliott English will attempt to break the 10-year-old record next weekend at (specific) State Games next weekend. The record, a 1,000 pound deadlift, was set by Elliot's teammate Mark Bigham at World Games. Elliott plans to lift 1,500 pounds at the power lifting competition.

English will remain in the (city) area until mid-week when he travels to the Games. Both athletes train at the ______. To find out how one and now potentially two athletes from the same agency learn not only life and work skills at the center, but how to break world records, please call me so I can set up the interview.

Pitch 2: Dear ______,

I thought you would you be interested a feature story about a group of older adults with special needs and how they stay connected to their community, when typically most in their population tend to live sedentary lives.

For several reasons, people with intellectual disabilities risk leading sedentary lives. The reasons: many are cut off from social activities and making friends; and some are not as likely as others to be employed or live independently, according to studies by the University of Massachusetts and Yale University. But this group of former ____________ who no longer compete, use music and performance to the odds.

With this special needs choir members perform for the community and at church and develop friendships. The choir sings and signs _______, ________, _______ and ________. Last year the group performed at ________ in front of their former teammates. And they wore medals too, given by the choir director.

To find out how the choir works in the lives of the former athletes, please give me a call.

Here are a few tips I picked up from other PR people and at conferences:

1. Pitch a story one to one reporter at a time. And tell them that. You can even say, "you're the only writer I'm sending this story to, so will you let me know by (day), (date) if you're interested in pursuing this story?"

2. Just like any writer would do, think of something you would want to tell your family over dinner. That's your pitch. Other families would like to hear these stories too.

3. Keep the pitch short.

4. Go ahead and tell the story as you would see in the newspaper: use a good lead and a nutgraph to show why the story is important.

So, PR people: What are your favorite tips for story pitching?

Reporters/writers: What works for you? What doesn't?


Kevin said...

Wendy - How did your pitches go? We take good pitches too you know so getting on our blog is not always a bad thing! Hope it all went well. Cheers.

City Sights and Observations said...

Thanks Kevin!

It went great -- all three made it. One appeared in the AJC, another one is slated to run sometime this month there, too. And the world record one made it in a paper in mid-Georgia.

I was just teasing about the Bad Pitch Blog -- I needed a good opener for the post. I am a big fan of both of your blogs. They are funny and enlightening. Can't wait to see what's next. :)